“Uber is going through a big transformation right now, and it has to start at the top,” Huffington Post founder member Arianna Huffington told CNBC. The change it needs is for founder and CEO Travis Kalanick to step away, briefly occupy a space reserved for nursing mothers, and reflect on himself for a little while.
As Huffington put it:
“He said, ‘I really need to go meditate in order to be in a place to make good decisions right now... and literally [he] went into a lactation room that happened to be open, because they don’t have meditation rooms yet. This is part of the change coming... Literally, Travis returned and you could see the change in the way he was and the way he could process making decisions.”
Let’s point out that currently Huffington is heading Thrive Global, a “wellness” venture that posits we’re not our best selves because we work too hard, don’t sleep enough, and aren’t meditating. Part of the company’s play is to deliver expensive seminars to big, overworked, under-slept companies on how to do those exact three things (sources tell Gizmodo that one such partnership with Accenture was in the millions).
Let’s also point out that Uber, which Huffington is a board member of, is in the crosshairs of a criminal probe, due in no small part to a culture that encouraged employees to flout regulations to get results. Those priorities also led to widespread sexual harassment, much of which wasn’t acted upon by the company until yesterday when a probe led to the firing of over 20 employees. Another was let go yesterday for allegedly sharing the medical records of a passenger who was raped by an Uber driver in India.
It might seem like, in the face of unprecedented controversy into the disgusting inner workings of a morally compromised company, Huffington is trying to drum up business for her start-up. “Travis started recognising how differently he made decisions when he had gotten enough sleep. And then he started meditating,” she said, suggesting Kalanick’s business is in any way an a positive example to be followed. Just one theory!
Maybe the real lesson we can learn from this is, if you want Human Resources to give a shit that a coworker groped you, invest in a meditation room.